Lacanian Reading Of The Chimney Sweeper English Literature Essay

William Blakes “ vocals of artlessness ” is defined by himself as “ happy vocals every kid may rejoice to hear ” . However, the fact is that non all of them concern about happy topics ; on the contrary many of them incorporates unfairness, poorness and agony. One of the cases may be the verse form named “ The chimney sweeper ” . This paper is traveling to read this verse form under the visible radiation of Lacanian theories about “ Symbolic order ” and “ Fanciful order ” in order to convey the rough world of patriarchal society depicted in the verse form to the surface.

Lacanian speech production, the kid experiences three phases or orders from the age of six months to 18 months, one of which is the Fanciful order. In this phase the kid feels one with the female parent and has no apprehension of his entity without the ( m ) other. The Symbolic order happens when the kid finds out that he is an independent being and is non unified with the female parent. It is the phase linked to the linguistic communication, intending that by larning linguistic communication ( the linguistic communication of the male parent ) , the kid stairss to the kingdom of the male parent. He obtains the subjectiveness by accepting “ the jurisprudence of the male parent ” . The kid separates from the female parent in order to hold an individuality in the patriarchal society.

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The verse form starts with this sentence: “ When my female parent died I was really immature ” . In this sentence the talker, a small male child whose occupation is to brush the chimneys, negotiations about his female parent, more exactly about the decease of his female parent. This is the first and last clip a female figure is spoken about through the verse form, and that is of great importance and will be explained farther in this paper.

Refering Lacanian psychoanalytic impressions, the talker of this verse form can be seen as a kid come ining the Symbolic order. Richard J. Lane defines the Symbolic in his “ Fifty Key Literary Theorists ” as “ where the desire for the ( m ) other is replaced by the jurisprudence of the male parent ” , therefore it could be concluded that the talker replaces his female parent with the jurisprudence of the male parent by saying his female parent ‘s decease in the really first sentence of the verse form. He is merely pass throughing from the Imaginary phase, which is the phase of placing with the female parent, to the Symbolic, which is the kingdom of the male parent. It is deserving refering that Lacaninan construct of the male parent is non the biological and existent male parent as in Freud ‘s theories, but it indicates the symbolic male parent.

The image of the male parent pictured in this verse form is that of cruel and inexorable one as the chimney sweeper states that: “ my male parent sold me while yet my lingua / could barely shout “ weep! weep! weep! ” . These are the 2nd and the 3rd lines of the work which unveil the image of the male parent in the small male child ‘s head ; a merciless male parent who has sold his small boy and has provided him with a dark hereafter. The talker ‘s following sentence indicates the thought that he knows his female parent ‘s decease ( absence ) and his male parent ‘s inhuman treatment as the grounds of his present wretchedness: “ So your chimneys I seep & amp ; in carbon black I sleep ” .

So far the reader may hold come to this thought that the small chimney sweeper has a suffering life, and the deficiency of presence of his female parent and the inhuman treatment of his male parent are the causes. Sing Lacan ‘s theories, he is a child transiting from the Imaginary order to the Symbolic 1, he puts off his female parent by mentioning to her decease at the really beginning of the verse form and enters the kingdom of the male parent. This passage is more obvious when the male child says that when his male parent sold him, he could barely shout the word “ Sweep ” and alternatively he pronounced it “ weep ” ! This shows the fact that he has non been yet ready to come in the rough world of the patriarchal society, the sphere of the male parent. By the decease of his female parent go oning so shortly, he had non been given this chance to follow himself with the new state of affairs, to experience ready to be separated from his female parent and larn the linguistic communication to travel into the universe of the male parent. He is now an immature kid who is confronted with the terrible world of the patriarchal society.

In the 2nd stanza, he speaks about one of his friends called “ Tom Dacre ” who had been unhappy with the shave of his caput. The talker tries to sooth him by a infantile justification that “ Hush, Tom! Never mind it, for when your caput ‘s bare, / you know that the carbon black can non botch your white hair ” . This may besides propose the immatureness and the naivete of the small male child who becomes the topic of the “ Law of the male parent ” so shortly.

The talker so says that at that dark Tom dreams:

That 1000s of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned and Jack,

Were all of them lock ‘d up in the caskets of black ;

And by came an Angel who had a bright key,

And he unfastened ‘d the caskets & A ; set them all free ;

Then they run cheerfully on the grass to rinse themselves in the river and drama with each other. The first point which should be noted is that the Angel is a male figure, contrary to the stereotyped image of the angels everyone has in head. This is a male-dominated district in which the female are dead or silenced. The kid has entered the Symbolic where the male parent regulations.

The aureate key is the key for unlocking the door of the Symbolic. The male figure ( Angel ) sets them free from the “ Fanciful caskets ” to come in the kingdom of the male parent, the patriarchal society. The female figure, or exactly talking the female parent figure in psychoanalytic theories is ever associated with the decease thrust, darkness, emptiness and hole. The justification behind this thought is that adult females are inactive physiologically, non to state mentally, that they are the receiving system because their uterus is an empty infinite to have the male ‘s sexual organ. Refering the Lacanian reading of this work, Blake has associated the female parent figure with decease in the first sentence of the verse form, and with the darkness and empty infinite of the caskets. The Fanciful order is depicted as the black caskets, which are the dark and limited infinite, and the ( m ) other is pictured as dead in the initial sentence of the verse form. Further a male Angel comes with a aureate key to put the kids free from this darkness and passiveness and to allow them laugh, drama, and run in a wider sphere which is the male parent ‘s district. By dividing from the female parent, they enter the kingdom of activity ; they gain the subjectiveness in the male parent ‘s terrain ;

Then down the green field, spring, express joying they run,

And wash in a river and radiance in the Sun.

Then bare and white, all their bags left behind,

They rise upon clouds and athletics in the air current.

Reading the bright and colorful description of the kids ‘s come ining to the Symbolic, one may come to this thought that they have arrived to a paradise-like phase, but the fact is that it is merely an semblance. The Angel tells Tom that “ if he ‘d be a good male child, he ‘d hold God for his male parent & A ; ne’er want joy ” . Here, Blake pictures the 3rd male figure in the verse form, who is God, in a really dry manner. The kids had been set free, but now are told that if they have God for their male parent there will be no demand for joy and athletics. This is the world of the patriarchal society, no joy! The 1 who wants an individuality in the society, has to stamp down his interior feelings and emotions. There is no infinite for nature ( associated with the Imaginary order ) , alternatively civilization speaks in the terrain of the male parent. By reading the get downing sentence of the last paragraph, this harsh world shows itself more obviously: “ And so Tom awoke ; and we rose in the dark / And got with our bags & A ; our coppices to work. ” The dream of a carefree and happy life is over, and they have to open their eyes to the world. They have earned the subjectiveness of the society in the monetary value of confronting the cruel and cold world in which kid labour is defined as one ‘s responsibility.

However, immature Tom is the 1 who has internalized the codifications of the Law of the male parent in a manner that one can state he is deluded: “ Tho ‘ the forenoon was cold, Tom was happy & A ; warm ; / So if all do their responsibility, they need non fear injury. ” He has been subjected to the patriarchal society and has been made to believe what is against the world. His life is suffering but he has been made to bask this idea that by experiencing satisfied with the current status, he will hold God as his male parent and will non necessitate any joy.

On the one manus, the Symbolic order is ab initio associated with brightness and the Sun, nevertheless by lifting the Sun in the forenoon the truth emerges and the falseness of the dream is proved. On the other manus, the Imaginary phase is represented as connected to decease, to darkness and parturiency. However, what is determined at the terminal of the verse form is the absolutism of the male-dominated society in which the inexperienced person kids are conceived with some hypocritical statements in order to be abused.

Blake ‘s sarcastic sentence put an terminal to the verse form proposing the acrimonious fact that in this society the agony and the hurting of the guiltless people is non the concern of the swayers. The kingdom of the male parent is where the kid has to face the world, and it makes no difference how rough it is.

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